Lawmakers in New York are the latest to wrestle with potential statewide regulations of small cellular equipment installations.
The Buffalo News reports that a budget proposal from Gov. Andrew Cuomo would establish uniform permit and review processes for small cells, which will be needed in vast numbers to support faster 5G networks, throughout the state.
But, as in other states, local government officials and environmental advocates are fighting the effort to restrict the ability of cities, towns and villages to make their own permitting and zoning decisions.
Verizon officials praised the proposal and lauded its potential impact on jobs and economic development in addition to its effect on wireless communications.
“This measure will promote private investment in state-of-the-art telecommunications networks at no cost to taxpayers,” David Lamendola, the carrier’s government affairs director in the state, told the paper in a statement.
Two local government groups, however — the Association of Towns and the New York Conference of Mayors — are opposing the effort, the News noted.
James Hartz, the director of community development in the Buffalo suburb of Tonawanda, argued that although relatively small, new wireless infrastructure could be implemented as part of much larger utility structures.
Another suburb, Amherst, enacted a moratorium on new cell towers after Verizon filed a slew of applications with the town last year. The New York legislation would override that measure and, town attorney Stanley Sliwa added, would negate local leverage that could be used to gain concessions from carriers, such as WiFi service in busy corridors.
The FCC is set to vote next week on a rule that would exempt small cells from federal oversight, but state and local laws would still apply to those projects. Numerous states previously enacted statewide regulations in order to encourage network investment, but measures remain pending in other states and California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill in his state.
“I get the industry argument, they just want these up as fast as possible to start marketing 5G network speeds,” Hartz told the News. “But as a resident, nobody is going to want one of these near them.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations